Being Childless Does Not Mean Being Alone
Having children does not mean you won’t be alone as you age. While I recognize that the yahoo, google, et al, algorithm likely shows me more content about women not having children than the typical user, I do think there is genuinely more media about being childless or childfree on the internet these days. Most of the time it is negative, and I keep scrolling. The headlines are unoriginal content that describe stereotypical judgements of women without children. The headlines typically tell me all I need to know about whatever stereotype these headlines are perpetuating; selfish, bitter, sad, angry, and alone. All of those descriptions are false. The alone and lonely part is especially fascinating to me. Not only are the headlines about being alone in the present but the fear of aloneness in the future is a major fear tactic used to do whatever it is people are trying to do who make these comments. If you know why, comment below.
I came across a Yahoo headline recently, that said, “Good luck dying alone: Couples on Tic Tok are showing off their double income, no kids lifestyle but also face harsh backlash.” Anyone who is childless not by choice or childfree is quite familiar with these comments from those outside the community. More comments include, Aren’t you afraid you will be alone in old age? What about when you are older? Who will take care of you when you are old? For some reason there is more empathy for those who are childless not by choice than those who choose to be childfree, yet, everyone hears these messages. Then there is the difference between childless due to medical issue and childless due to circumstance, but that is for another blog. Women without children are a hot topic that garners a lot of opinions. All that to say, all of those comments get seen and heard no matter the reason you don’t have children; and are equally ridiculous.
Yes, it is ridiculous to assume that having children will mean you won’t be alone in old age. It is ridiculous to have children solely so you won’t be alone in old age. Not having children does not mean you will be alone. Death, illness estrangement, conflict, finances, stressors, proximity, and so much more can impact how those of a certain age are assisted in their later years. Children are not the only way to live a meaningful, purposeful, and fun life in old age. How many people do you know that have children but their children are nowhere to be found, or, the elderly parents are taking care of the adult children? No judgement about those circumstances, they happen, and they happen for many reasons. The next time someone asks you, “Aren’t you afraid you will be alone?” or “who will take care of you when you are older?” Consider the following replies:
Yes, and I think I would have a bit of fear and anxiety around that even with children. Don’t you? Yes, and I am not making any assumptions so I plan now for how I want my older years to look. I’m glad this is something I’m considering now so I can design the life I want. No, just because I don’t have kids doesn’t mean I don’t have a family. No, are you? How do you know your kids will take care of you? Are you sure they will? Is that why you had kids? To have someone to take care of you when you are older? Thank you for your care and concern. I have a plan for my life that includes consideration for all seasons of life.
Let me know how you respond to these questions or statements from others in the comments. Just because you don’t have children does NOT mean you will be alone. Children don’t equal security. You can live a life that is meaningful, purposeful, and fun even when you’re older.